There was a moment last night when Barack Obama was saying the McCain campaign was calling him a Socialist because he had once shared a peanut butter sandwich with a classmate and Bill Clinton laughed--not that slit-eyed, calculated political chuckle but a genuine guffaw of recognition from someone who had suffered the smear treatment and survived.
When the former President was being hounded by Newt Gingrich and his merry midgets, it was no laughing matter, and there is still reason to believe that Clinton failed to take out Osama bin Laden when he could have back then because it would have been seen as a "Wag the Dog" diversion from his impeachment.
But more than a decade later, the politics of personal destruction has worn thin, and what was tragic back then can be seen as comedy now in the tired attacks that McCain-Palin are mouthing about terrorists, wealth-spreaders and the like.
In his campaign, Barack Obama may not exactly be standing on Bill Clinton's shoulders, as he graciously suggested last night (“In case all of you forgot, this is what it’s like to have such a great president”), but in the finesse with which he is swatting away Rovian accusations in these final days, the candidate of tomorrow is definitely profiting from the bitter experience of yesterday's target.
It was nice to see them sharing a laugh about it last night.